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On the breadline
(Empty belly beds)


If hardship has another name disaster suits it well

Depression, melancholy, desolation, living Hell

A Hell without the means to feed a child in need of bread

To know without the need to ask, it’s ‘empty belly beds’


A house that’s steeped in sorrow, a parent on the edge

Misfortune never ending, a grave without a death

Money-short and work is too, there’s been no luck of late

How do you warm a weeping child with no fire in the grate?


A mother’s face reflecting despondency and guilt

A hopelessness that thrives and breeds in poverty and filth

A state of destitution, self-destruction, moribund

Held together by the thread that binds her to her young


Hard blows the wind through troubled times

Unfaithful love, wives left behind

To fend, to fight, to stay alive

To raise a child with one hand tied


When the last meal came to nothing

Save a few scraps on a plate

When hunger raged throughout the house

And the rent was always late


When the walls were thick with mildew

And the cold cut like a knife

When times were hard and children starved

And penury was rife



And so tonight they sit and quietly shiver in the dark

They wait to hear the footsteps of a man who calls a lot

He bears a box of margarine, of milk, of bread and jam

He’s from the church just down the road - the coming of

The lamb


© Joseph G Dawson


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